Good faith and fair dealing in contracts formed and performed by electronic agents Article DOI:
Cite this article as: Weitzenböck, E.M. Artif Intell Law (2004) 12: 83. doi:10.1007/s10506-004-1908-0 Abstract
The development of electronic agents that increasingly play an active role in the contract formation and execution process has highlighted the need for the creation of law-abiding autonomous agent systems. The principle of good faith is an important guideline for contractual behaviour which permeates civil law systems. This paper examines how this principle is applied both during the negotiation of a contract and during its performance. Selected examples from civil law literature of precontractual duties of good faith, and of precontractual behaviour that is deemed to be contrary to good faith, are discussed. This is followed by a discussion of the extent to which such duties are recognised, or such behaviour proscribed, in common law jurisdictions. Some common standards for precontractual behaviour in civil and common law systems are identified. There is then a parallel analysis of the principle of good faith in contract performance with a view to identifying common traits or standards between civil and common law systems. These standards, in the situation where contracts are being negotiated and/or performed by or through electronic agents, would need to be reflected in the way such agents operate.
Keywords autonomous agents contract formation contract performance electronic agents fair dealing good faith References Beale, H. G. eds. 1999Chitty on Contracts - Vol. 1: General Principles28 Sweet & Maxwell London Google Scholar Craig, R. 1992Norsk-Engelsk Juridisk Ordbok: Kontraktsrett Universitetsforlaget Oslo Google Scholar Cohen, N. 1995 Pre-contractual Duties: Two Freedoms and the Contract to Negotiate. Beatson, J. Friedmann, D. eds. Good Faith and Fault in Contract Law Clarendon Press Oxford 25 56 Google Scholar Fabre-Magnan, M. 1995 Duties of Disclosure and French Contract Law: Contribution to an Economic Analysis. Beatson, J. Friedmann, D. eds. Good Faith and Fault in Contract Law Clarendon Press Oxford 99 120 Google Scholar Falkanger, Å. T. 1999God Tro: En Studie av Kravet Til God Tro Som Vilkår for å Erverve Eller Opprettholde Privatrettslige Rettigheter Universitetsforlaget Oslo Google Scholar
Forrester, I. S., Goren, S. L., and Ilgen, H. M. (1975). The German Civil Code. Excerpts available at http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/lastcb/bgbengl.htm Accessed July 17, 2004.
Furmston, M., Norisada, T., Poole, J. 1998Contract Formation and Letters of Intent Wiley and Sons Chichester Google Scholar Furmston, M. 2001Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston’s Law of Contract14 Butterworths London Google Scholar Galgano, F. 1985Diritto Privato, 3rd edn., CEDAM–Casa Editrice Dott Antonio Milani Padova Google Scholar
Graver, H. P. (2003). The Approach to European Law in Norwegian Legal Doctrine–ARENA Working Paper 18/03 available at http://www.arena.uio.no/publications/wp03_18.pdf Accessed July 17, 2004.
Hov, J. 2002Avtaleslutning og ugyldighet: Kontraktsrett I3 Papinian Oslo Google Scholar Harrison, R. 1997Good Faith in Sales Sweet & Maxwell London Google Scholar Karnow, C. E. A. 1997Future Codes: Essays in Advanced Computer Technology and Law Sweet & Maxwell Boston/London Google Scholar Kessler, F., Fine, E. 1964 Culpa in contrahendo, Bargaining in Good Faith and Freedom of Contract: A Comparative Study Harvard Law Review 77 401 449 Google Scholar Lando, O., Beale, H. 2000Principles of European Contract Law–Parts I and II Combined and Revised Kluwer Law International The Hague, London, Boston Google Scholar Lerouge, J. F. 2000 The use of electronic agents questioned under contractual law: Suggested solutions on a European and American Level The John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law, 18 403 433 Google Scholar
Levanti, S. Abuso del Diritto. Diritto e Diritti, June 2001, at http://www.diritto.it/articoli/civile/levanti.html Accessed July 17, 2004.
Lillebakken, F. The Norwegian Legal system: A Brief Introduction, available at http://www.jur.uib.no/Studier/Utland/English/ECTS/LEGAL.HTM Accessed July 17, 2004.
O’Connor, J.F. 1990Good Faith in English Law Darthmouth Aldershot Google Scholar Russell, S. J., Norvig, P. 1995Artificial Intelligence: A modern approach Prentice-Hall New Jersey MATH Google Scholar Sartor, G. 2003 Cognitive Automata and the Law Bing, J. Sartor, G. eds. The Law of Electronic Agents NRCCL Oslo 67 113 Google Scholar Steyn, L. J. 1997 Contract Law: Fulfilling the Reasonable Expectations of Honest Men L.Q.R. 113 433 442 Google Scholar Stuurman, K., Wijnands, H. 2001 Intelligent Agents: A Curse or a Blessing? A Survey of the Legal Aspects of the Application of Intelligent Software Systems. Computer Law and Security Report 17 92 100 Google Scholar
Geoffrey Thomas, G. and Dannemann, G. (2002). German Civil Code - Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch–selected translations, available at http://www.iuscomp.org/gla/statutes/BGB.htm#b2s3 Accessed July 17, 2004.
UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial contracts (1994). International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), Rome, available at http://www.jus.uio.no/lm/unidroit.contract.principles.1994/doc.html Accessed July 17, 2004.
Weill, A., Terré, F. 1986Droit Civil: Les Obligations4 Dalloz Paris Google Scholar
Weitzenböck, E. (2002a). Good Faith and Fair Dealing in the Context of Contract Formation by Electronic Agents. In Proceedings of The AISB 2002 Symposium on Intelligent Agents in Virtual Markets, 2–5 April 2002, Imperial College London.
Weitzenböck, E. (2002b). Electronic Agents and Contract Performance: Good Faith and Fair Dealing. In The Law of Electronic Agents: Selected Revised Papers, LEA Workshop on the Law of Electronic Agents, 67–73. CIRSFID (Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca in Storia del Diritto, Filosofia e Sociologia del Diritto e Informatica Giuridica), University of Bologna: Bologna.
Whittaker, S., Zimmermann, R. 2000a Good faith in European Contract Law: Surveying the Legal Landscape. Zimmermann, R. Whittaker, S. eds. Good Faith in European Contract Law Cambridge University Press Cambridge 7 62 Google Scholar Whittaker, S., Zimmermann, R. 2000b Coming to terms with good faith. Zimmermann, R. Whittaker, S. eds. Good Faith in European Contract Law Cambridge University Press Cambridge 653 701 Google Scholar Wooldridge, M., Jennings, N. 1995 Intelligent Agents: Theory and Practice Knowledge Engineering Review 10 115 152 CrossRef Google Scholar Zweigert, K., Kötz, H. 1998Introduction to Comparative Law Clarendon Press Oxford Google Scholar